Skip to main content

tv   Mosaic World News  LINKTV  April 5, 2012 11:30am-12:00pm PDT

11:30 am
annenberg media ♪ captioning sponsored by annenberg/cpb narrator: our investigation of northern africa and southwestern asia
11:31 am
takes us to egypt. here, as throughout this region, the presence or absence of water has profoundly influenced patterns of human settlement. the nile river is egypt's lifeblood. people here cling to its path through the desert and cluster in its broad delta. our case explores human modification of the environment as humans harness the mighty nile through projects like the aswan dam, lake nasser and the new toshka canal; the move from subsistence to commercial agriculture; and how an expanding population in the nile river delta is encroaching on the area's remaining precious farmland. from space, the earth can seem an abstract pattern of color and shape,
11:32 am
but as we look closer, environmental processes come into view. here the rain of east-central africa collects in the giant lake victoria. its waters drain to the north, giving rise o of the world's great rirs, the nile descending from the african highlands, the nile winds through one of earth's most arid landscapes. coursing through the vast desert of northern africa, the waters of the nile nourish a ribbon of green across the sun-baked terrain. and 4,000 miles from its source, the nile puts forth its greatest gift-- a lush and fertile delta that ushered in one of the world's oldest civilizations.
11:33 am
near the neck of the delta is the city of cairo. dathstets arive-- 11 million people crowd the city, 68 million crowd the country. and though the bounty of the nile is great, the agriculture it supports is not sufficient to feed the people of egypt. and so the pressure to use more of the nile's water for desert irrigation mounts. the nile valley is one of the most densely populated areas in the world. ninety-five percent of egypt's people live on and depend on just five percent of the land. but the nile river and its narrow ribbon of fertile soil has fed egypt for most of its long history. every ar whenthe river flooded, it left a rich layer of silt to grow crops in.
11:34 am
nourished by the wild river, the ndere was as ferle as anyn eah. but nearly 50 years ago, egypt decided to tame the nile. the aswan high dam was the greatest public work project since the pyramids. twenty-four ancient monuments were moved, but many others disappeared under the new lake. lake nasser, the world's largest man-made lake, holds two years' worth of the nile's water. with the aswan dam, egypt regulates the flow of the nile. this has beea boon for agriculture in the delta. without the dam, you would thnot have perennial irrigation in the delta. you would not have three cropping seasons. but there's a downside-- you are holding back silt, so those nutrient-rich water which used to come every year during the flood no longer comes. so this has resulted in increased dependency on fertilizers, on the additions to chemicals to the land.
11:35 am
not only are these expensive, but there's an environmental cost as well. narrator: one such cost is a kind of pollution called salinization. salinization occurs most often in arid climates like egypt. in the hot, dry air, surface water evorat quickly before it can sink down into the soil, leaving behind whatever mineral surfcontent was in the water. the salinization in this field is extreme and obvious. the problem is widespread, with damaging levels of salinization affecting as much as 50% of egypt's farmland. but despite the problems, the sunny climate, nile waters and rich soils here remain highly productive. agriculture is a major component of egypt's economy and its largest employer. the peasant farmer, or fellahin, has been the backbone of egyptian agriculture,
11:36 am
but today, many feel the winds of change. stewart: in the 1990s, egypt began a structural adjustment program. they cut subsidies, they reduced debt. essentially, they're trying to go from a socialist system to a capitalist system. in agriculture, this has meant a land reform policy which favors large, efficient commercial farms. now, the fellahin tend to have farm sizes of an acre or less. they're not doing very well. these plot sizes are noneconomic. they're simply not big enough. narrator: many of the fellahin have tilled these plots for generations. and with the passing of each generation, the plots tend to be divided among siblings. you can see the resulting pattern hisatellvihe nile lta. m ots, thif cmeial farming ssn anizcan e seeng pattern
11:37 am
e thadiol hisatat the edge, lta. we can see larger fields and the unmistakable imprint of modern commercial farming. the ceer pivot irgaon patrn here ratic ofom rms aroundhe gbe. economies of scale and modern farming methods can yield seven times more profit for farms like these than the small plots of the fellahin. this desert land was barren for centuries. today, with the help of irrigation, the farmers are growing many crops-- apples, bananas, lemons, grapes and various vegetables. egypt has an enormous climate advantage. when it's wintertime in europe, and people still want to eat strawberries and cucumbers, you can grow them in egypt and sell them in europe. narrator: in fact, egypt has been exporting many cash crops recently-- partially a result of new commercial farms. egypt's irrigation program has reclaimed over a million acres
11:38 am
of desert land in recent decades. but nearly as quickly as they are gaining new farmland in the desert, they are losing their best farmland to urban growth. we can see it here in cairo in the shadow of the ancient pyramids. this is a satellite photo of the base of the nile delta. the dark green area is farmland. in 1965, 5½ million people lived in the city of cairo, a dense urban area covering about 200 square kilometers. but by 1998, cairo's population had arly doubled, and the resulting urban expaion, seen here in red, paved overome of egypt's most productive cropland. the unfortunate combination of expanding population and shrinking farmland adds up to a worrisome man-to-land ratio. in 1800, the man/land ratio was one to one--
11:39 am
one acre per person. in 1900, it was half-acre. now it is less than oneighth of an acre, less than 500 square meters per person, and this is not enough to feed the population. narrator: for egypt, with its growing population, the hope is always the same-- find a way to use the desert. in997, ty gaan ambitious set ofega-ojects. the hopetheir goal ise same-- findto literal move outesert. of the old valley of the nile and into the new "delta." that's their term for huge tracts of desert land-- 20% of egypt's total area slated for irrigation and development. at the heart of the plan is the toshka canal. stewart: it's been a dream in egypt, almost a fantasy, perhaps, to try to create a parallel artificial nile,
11:40 am
and that's what toshka is designed to do. it's in the early excavation stages. it's expected to take 20 years to develop this project. at the end of it, there'll be two new cities, six investment zones. in addition, a further 500,000 acres will be irrigated, largely to develop commercial farms on. now, the water for this-- some of it can possibly come from groundwater, but only a very small portion. the bulk of it, about five billion gallons, is going to be diverted from lake nasser, and i think there's a real question as to whether or not there's enough water for all of this. narrator: as egypt's dependence on the waters of the nile rises, so does the likelihood of international friction over the use of this incredibly valuable resource. there is a long-standing agreement in effect. in 1959, egypt and its neighbor to the south, sudan, agreed to a split of the annual flow of nile water.
11:41 am
the problem lies upstream at the water's source. here eight other nations have land within the nile watershed. these developing economies have a growing thirst for the waters that would otherwise flow into the nile. in 1999, the ten countries of the nile formed the nile basin initiative. their purpose is to coordinate water use projects. it is a hopeful sign, but the coming years will surely see some disputes rise to the surface. fortunately, the people of egypt have a long history of respect for the nile's gifts. and today, many egyptians understand the limits of increasingly scarce water resources. kishk: there is no prospects to develop more water resources for the nile. the groundwater is limited. these limited resources should be used more wisely in a susinable basis that wl save the resources
11:42 am
for the future generations. narrator in egypt, s modify thenvironment in a bid to control the waters of the nile. in this arid region, water has always played an extremely important role in the human settlement patterns and the evolution of culture. most of egypt's population hugs the nile river and its delta. but as this population continues to grow, it is expanding farther into the delta's fertile farmland. the loss of this rich farmland, and the move from subsistence to commercial agriculture will have consequences for years to come. the region of northern africa and southwestern asia includes the arabian peninsula. here, on the peninsula's tip, lies oman. like their neighbors in saudi arabia,
11:43 am
the people of oman benefit from oil reserves far beneath their dry desert soil. but unlike its neighbors', oman's oil reserves are relativelymall. facing the eventual loss of o revenues has rced oman to seek other ways to survive. here, we explo oman's ans for economic dersicaon; its dependence on expatriate guest workers; and an employment policy called "omanization"; and the expanded role that women will play in oman's future. the arabian peninsula in the early 20th century. people lack almost all kinds of resources, awash in a sea of sand. at this time, nobody knows that they are actually walking around on a resource that, in a few decades,
11:44 am
will radically change their situation. the discovery of oil and the help of expatriates soon made possible the development of modern societies in persian gulf countries. one of tse countries is oman. it was not until the mid-1960s that commercial quantities of oil were discovered in the fahud area. in 1970, sultan qaboos deposed his father and took charge of a poor and undeveloped country. he decided to use the money from oil to "bring the people from the darkness of the past into a new future." education became a priority. girls as well as boys attended school. and thanks to the oil, the economy started to grow rapidly. today in oman, people don't need camels for transportation anymore.
11:45 am
the 2½ million inhabitants can go by car on new roads all over the country. and muscat, the capital, like the rest of oman, has developed into a modern society. oman differs from its persian gulf neighbors in a number of ways. it's the only country in the world where a majority of the population practice ibadhi islam, known r its n ofeligious fanaticism. ltusasonsistentlyfoedn dendenh regard foreign pol workacinheegnd supporng t u. in t fulwaand agai t we ste. with an enlightened approach the lte to modernization,
11:46 am
one that sought to spread benefits across the entire population. so, the oil brought oman wealth. but today in oman, it is the general opinion that too much depends upon oil. oil revenues account for 80% of oman's income. and while new discoveries currently outrun production, everything's relative where oman's oil supply is concerned. oman has about five percent of the proven oil reserves of kuwait or the united arab emirates and, um, about two percent of what saudi arabia has. so, in the context of the arabian peninsula, it's not a major source of oil. on the other hand, they're actually going through their oil more quickly. and in theory, their oil reserves will be depleted by the year 2020. in practice, of course, they're continuing to make new discoveries. but there is a sense that the oil will eventually run out
11:47 am
and they need to plan for that. narrator: oman's government sees economic diversification as the key to their future. diversification policy has actually various aims. chiefly is not to be dependent solely on the oil as the sole resource of our income, you see, and, uh... to build the other sectors, to utilize the other sectors, you see, to make use of the other resources which is... oman has, such as fisheries, such as other minerals-- on top of it gas-- such as agriculture and human resources as well. narrator: but diversification into more private-sector enterprises means a change to omani employment patterns. currently, oman, like all the oil-producing countries of the persian gulf, relies heavily on expatriate guest workers-- 600,000 of them-- primarily from india, pakistan and africa.
11:48 am
today, foreigners make up two- thirds of oman's labor force, a quarter of the total population. most omanis work in the public sector, for good reason. government employment has always been an attractive option, first of all because it's very stable, it's, um, it's well paid and, um... there's a lot of status attached to it. but the point has be reaed and beyond that peop haveto loo. is only growing so quickly, narrator: economic diversification has required a massive education program to move omanis into private industry sectors and reduce dependence on expatriates. this is the data processing subject. here, we teach them how to make memos, letters, tables, uh, things like that,
11:49 am
things that a secretary normally does in an office. interviewer: is it common among women to be out working, also having a family? yes. it's a new way. yes, new way here in oman. before, no. now... all woman, they go to the office and they can have a family also. i like to work because it's very econ... make efficient for my country and for my own life also. narrator: the status of women in oman is noticeably different from its neighbors. sultan qabus actively encouraged women to become more involved in society. drysdale: you see women working in the secretarial jobs, you see women working in hotels behind the desk. virtually all of the key people concerned with family planning
11:50 am
were women-- most of them physicians. and in somother critical government ministries-- like the ministry of social and labor affairs, the ministry of planning-- it's quite common to see women who are in powerful positions. narrator: job education and training is part of official government policy ein what are now heavily- increguest-worker sectors.anis we are now training the omanis to take over the work roles of the expatriates. uh, we train them in many, many trades, from commercial training, which includes business studies, secretarial, accounts training, through to technical, which would include welding, engineering, electrical, carpentry. interviewer: what kind of training do you have here? man: we have two types of training.
11:51 am
we train fabrication and welding for a visual standard which is... controls welding in oman. drysdale: one of the government's most important priorities is this policy of omanization, which essentially means creating jobs for omanis and weaning itself of this overdependence on foreign workers. so there are explicit quotas that vary by sector. for example, they hope to have 35% of the jobs in hotels and restaurants staffed by omanis. these are flexible targets in the sense that everybody knows that it's not easy to reach those goals. but you certainly get a sense that this is a serious policy. and they do very much want by the year 2020 to be in a very different position from where they are today.
11:52 am
man: the omanization means for jotun that we have to stick to the regulations from the government. for our business, we have to secure 35% omanization. the problem is, of course, that the educational system in oman is still very young and it's not that easy to get skilled people if you look for them in the market. you have to bring them into the organization and you have to train them in what we call on-the-job training. you have to let omanis go together with skilled people-- skilled jotun people-- and then they will be trained for the job they are going to do. narrator: one sector seeing more development in the name of diversification is oman's fishing industry. the old road along the coast brings us to sur,
11:53 am
almost 200 kilometers southeast of muscat. the main occupation in this area has always been fishing. but a new road to muscat and the international airport also means new opportunities for the fishermen to find extended markets. interviewer: where do you sell your fish? we export it-- america. america? america. america, uh... man: france. france, uh... england. taiwan. new zealand. new zealand, uh... singapore. singapore, indonesia. indonesia. narrator: and oman is casting a wider net where other types of diversification are concerned. drysdale: the omanis have made a conscious choice to attract high-end tourists. so they have built quite an extensive network of luxury hotels, four-, five-star hotels. and oman has a great deal to offer them.
11:54 am
it's an exquisitely beautiful country, um... the landscape is just magnificent. there is a lot there of historic interest. and omanis are very gracious and hospitable. comes away with a feelingima that this is really a treasure. they hope that tourism will contribute... i think it's five or six percent of gdp by 2020. i don't think that's realistic; it's never going to be that important, simply because still people perceive oman to be in a dangerous part of the world. narrator: while perceptions about oman's location may inhit the growth of its tourist economy, its relative locatio to a regnal powerhouse may dampen other diversification efforts. drysdale: oman rlly lives in the shadow dai, the united araemirat. dubai is a remarkable place. it's become kind of the capital of the arabian peninsula.
11:55 am
one ofeanswhy an hasadifcuy it'tracting light industrypital od foren vestntpeninsula. bse dai can do so much better a job. s more incentives, it has bter infrastructure, better banking and telecommunications, a huge free trade zone. and oman doesn't quite measure up. narrator: for now, diversification and omanization continue. greater private sector employment of omanis is critical as large numbers of young people reach working age. drysdale: about 44% of all omanis are under the age of 15. almost 70% are under the age of 25. so you've got an extraordinarily young population-- every year 25,000 people graduating from secondary schools. and there's simply a huge challenge for the government
11:56 am
to find jobs for all those people. after the 1993 census, the government officially adopted what's called a birth spacing program. that received the full explicit support of the sultan, which was essential, otherwise the whole notion of family planning would be met with a lot of concern. in oman today, any woman who visits a clinic is exposed to family planning advice-- you can't avoid it, in fact. and that seems to have had some results in terms of bringing down the fertility rate. woman: i'm working, uh... at receptionist, answering the phone, typing and, uh, greet the visitors. i want to do something else, like maybe an account. i want to learn something because it's good for my future. narrator: the future is very much in the hands of sultan qaboos,
11:57 am
his leadership and ideas. although great efforts have been made and good results have been achieved in oman, nobody knows if the preparations will be enough to meet a future without the oil. the only thing the omanis can be sure of is that this situation will come sooner or later. oman's government sees economic diversification as the key to their future. although it will continue to be dependent on expatriate guest workers, the policy of omanization will play an important role in moving omanis into the private sector. and, distinctive from other countries in the region, oman has encouraged the education and employment of women as being vital to its future.
11:58 am
captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
11:59 am

145 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on